The Cascade Effect, is a one-stop-guide for small businesses, startups and those who want to learn how PR can grow your business, making you a successful entrepreneur!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Cascade Effect Has Moved

Get the latest advice on PR for startups and small businesses at the new "Cascade Effect" on our blog.

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@SmallBizPRXpert and @Cascade_PR

Thursday, July 18, 2013

PR Stunts: Expect the Unexpected

(As originally published on's Inc. Well)

PR Stunts.  Everyone wants to do them and hopes they trigger massive media attention.  From the World's Largest Roll of Toilet Paper to tying small promotional banners to flies and setting them loose in a crowd (, PR Stunts are becoming a more and more desired avenue for small business.  Why?  Because a little creativity doesn't cost much.

While your creativity can pay off dividends with media exposure, some are good, some are bad and some....well, they just have an unexpected outcome.  You have to be prepared for it all.

Take the 2013 Blackhawks Stanley Cup Game One Ticket Giveaway by Chicago-based   Their intention was to create an ad on Craigslist "from" the most obnoxious character ever.  Someone the average person would deem ridiculous, clearly not real and not something anyone would find believable.  The company would collect the responses and later distribute as a pitch to local media with the Top 10 responses of what Blackhawks fans would do for tickets. 

The only problem is that Blackhawks fans believed it to be true and proved they would do anything to get their hands on some tickets.  Word spread and it went viral. 

Within 48 hours of hitting it hit USA TODAY, Chicago magazine, Complex Sports and others.  They didn't even know until WLS-AM called wanting to talk to them. 

Another issue:  because they did not expect it to go viral, they didn't put their name on it.  What could have been great exposure for their company was a missed opportunity. 

I spoke to Rob Cressy at who had some great "lessons learned" to share with other small businesses:

  • You can't make something go viral.  We had no intention of it getting picked up.   We put no effort into making it to viral.  It was just a crazy idea we came up over a ping pong game that happened to generate a lot of attention.

  • Always expect the unexpected.  We created this idea with zero expectation that anything would happen and missed a PR opportunity. We've created other content, spent less time on this and it went further than any other idea we've had.  Be prepared if something does happen.

  • Own it. Since our name wasn't attached, we are still going back to our original idea to get media interested in sharing those Top 10 Finalist videos  and show exactly what people would do for tickets (To date: picked it up) to generate some PR.

  • Put your money where your mouth is. We had no tickets.  We had no intention of giving them away, but we realized that the integrity of our company and website were at stake.  We didn't want people putting out negative messages, so we ponied up, bought the tickets and selected a very deserving winner. 

  • Put a positive spin on a light-hearted situation.  It was completely worth it to give away the tickets.  Our mission is to help people achieve their dreams through the love of sports, and we did that.  We chose the right winner and were thrilled to give her an awesome experience, which she shared on social media, and we got to share with her. 

Cressy said the experience has inspired them to do similar things in the future, but they will definitely take the outcome of this stunt into consideration as they continue to create innovative ideas and content for their site.  It's also provided insight into how they market to and engage with fans and followers in the future.

Friday, July 06, 2012

12 Great ways to encourage engagement on Social Media

The number one rule of social media success is engagement.  You can have a huge list of connections but if you aren’t engaging in conversation with them the effort is wasted.  The key to making your social media efforts work is to build relationships with people … there’s more to it then just being social … you need to be engaging with your target market and building meaningful relationships of trust.  In today’s market “Trust” builds businesses and creating an effective social media strategy using engagement with your customers and clients is the first step!

Here are 12 great ways to encourage your Fans and Followers to respond and engage with your posts.  Use these ideas to start the conversation and start building relationships that will grow your business!

Click here to read more

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SpikeTV and SCORE Offer New Resource for Food Entrepreneurs

SpikeTV -- which just launched its Sunday night series "Bar Rescue" -- and SCORE the non-profit small business mentoring association, have customized a toolkit called "Serve Up Success" available free of charge at in order to help aspiring entrepreneurs and struggling businesses find success despite this challenging economic climate. The toolkit is particularly timely as unemployment figures continue to rise. The goal: to help entrepreneurs succeed in the food service industry! Whether you're deciding if opening your own bar or restaurant is right for you or if you're a food service veteran, use this great toolkit filled with SCORE resources to help you succeed.

Worth reading: "Bar Rescue: and food industry expert Jon Taffer's interview on his mission to help fix struggling bars and small business owners get back on their feet.

Note: Some good overall advice for all small business owners whether you're in food or not!

Check it out!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Businessweek Seeks America's Best Young Entrepreneurs

Bloomberg Businessweek is seeking your suggestions for America’s best young entrepreneurs roundup for 2011. For the seventh year, we’re asking readers to scour the startup world for the most promising companies run by entrepreneurs 25 or younger. Suggest companies for us to look into using the form below through July 31. Then our reporters and editors will choose 25 to profile, and ask readers to vote for the ones they think hold the most promise. We’ll announce the five companies that got the most votes in the fall.

To qualify, companies must:

1) be based in the United States.

2) have no co-founders older than 25 on July 31, 2011. (That means if any one of a company’s founders was born before July 31, 1985, the company doesn’t qualify.)

3) disclose revenue for 2010 and projected revenue for 2011 (we won’t consider companies without this).

Suggest companies using the form below through July 31, and watch for our roundup in the fall.

Click here for more information.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Six Things Entrepreneurs Know That Are Dead Wrong

A great article from the Forbes blog. It may just change your the way you, as an entrepreneur, think about your business.

Things Entrepreneurs Know That Are Dead Wrong
Martin Zwilling, Startup Professional's Musings
June 26, 2011

All true entrepreneurs operate off a set of tenets that are built into their psyche, or drilled into them from training and mentors. These are represented by sayings like “You never get anywhere unless you take a chance” and “Passion and persistence are the keys to success,” Unfortunately, there are still other old, reliable tenets that don’t work anymore.

In a new book by Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie from the Columbia Business School, “Designing for Growth,” the authors encourage managers to think more like designers. I assert that designers have a lot in common with entrepreneurs, since both must innovate and start a deep understanding of what their customer really wants (“customer-centered”).

In most other respects, design thinking is the opposite of business thinking. For example, businesses must deal with reality as fixed and quantifiable, whereas design deals with subjective experience and a social constructs. Entrepreneurs need to bridge both these worlds, and the authors outline key business management myths that usually limit startup thinking:

  1. Myth: Think big. There are always pressures to be sure an opportunity is big enough, but most really big solutions began small and built momentum. To seize really new opportunities, it is better to start small and find a deep, underlying human need to connect with. A better maxim for entrepreneurs is: Focus on meeting genuine human needs.
Read more....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quick Assessment for Entrepreneurs

This is great! If you're an entrepreneur you should definitely take this quick assessment to calibrate where you are in the business-building process. Thanks to One Million by One Million for alerting us!